As Namaste Trump meets Howdy Modi in India, common threat China looms large

If there is one foreign leader who has the inside track for organising the kind of over-the-top, boisterous public reception Donald Trump revels in, it has to be Narendra Modi – the Indian prime minister who in many ways is a kindred spirit to the showman US president.Modi’s government is pulling out all the stops, at an expense of some US$14 million, ahead of the maiden two-day trip by the US president and First Lady Melania Trump that begins in Ahmedabad on Monday. The first day of Trump’s…

Coronavirus: church cluster among three new cases in Singapore

Singapore on Saturday confirmed three new cases of the deadly new coronavirus, taking the city state’s total number of infections to 89.The Health Ministry also said two more patients had been discharged. There have now be 49 people who have recovered and left hospital.One of the new cases is a 30-year-old Singaporean woman with no recent travel history to China. She was linked to the republic’s largest cluster, now affecting 23 people, around the Grace Assembly of God church.The other new case…

Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad says ‘up to him’ when to let go of power, citing unanimous endorsement from Pakatan Harapan

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday that it was up to him when – and whether – to let go of power, after he received a unanimous endorsement from his ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition. The veteran politician had previously pledged to hand over the reins to former Umno member and deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim under an agreement ahead of the country’s 2018 elections. No time frame was specified, but it was understood that the move would take place two to three…

Cambodia questions Malaysia’s coronavirus diagnosis after Westerdam cruise ship passenger cleared

The Cambodian government on Friday raised “doubt over the accuracy” of Malaysia’s health testing for its coronavirus diagnosis in the case of a US woman who flew to Kuala Lumpur after being allowed to disembark from a cruise ship in Cambodia.In the statement, Cambodia’s Health Ministry said “the irregularity of the testing results by Malaysian authorities made all passengers on the Westerdam cruise ship scared and confused”, referring to the Holland America vessel whose disembarking process in…

Xi Jinping and Moon Jae-in discuss coronavirus and Chinese leader’s planned visit to South Korea

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in on Thursday spoke over the phone to discuss China’s efforts fighting the deadly coronavirus outbreak and the state of bilateral ties.Chinese state media quoted Xi expressing his “deep gratitude” to the South Korean government and people for their help and support, noting both countries were important neighbours and partners for each other.Bilateral ties were doing well, Xi said, adding that he and Moon had met in Beijing…

Philippine immigration scam for Chinese travellers involved 9 in 10 staff, says whistle-blower

A whistle-blower who exposed a Philippine Bureau of Immigration syndicate that earned billions of pesos selling entry to Chinese nationals has identified himself – and claimed that 90 per cent of the department’s staff were involved in the racket. Immigration officer Allison Chiong told a senate hearing on Thursday the scam even enabled foreigners who were blacklisted or had criminal records to enter and leave the Philippines without being scrutinised or stopped at the airport. “I had to…

Coronavirus: Anxious Asian countries want China flight ban, says new poll

Anxiety levels in Asian countries over the new coronavirus are high, a new survey shows, although they do not necessarily correlate with the number of cases reported locally. But regardless of their level of concern, the vast majority of respondents want a blanket ban on flights from mainland China.The Covid-19 disease, caused by a new coronavirus that was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected more than 75,000 people around the world, killing more than 2,000.“The desire for…

Jho Low should come back to Malaysia if he has the coronavirus, police chief says

Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho – more commonly known as Jho Low – was active in the now virus-stricken Chinese city of Wuhan, according to Malaysia’s police chief.“We previously received intelligence that he was hiding in Wuhan,” Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador told reporters at a Wednesday press conference, adding that there was no new information on whether Low had left the city following the Covid-19 outbreak.He went on to quip that if Low, who is wanted in connection with the…

Donald Trump has plenty of fans in India. They even built a wall for his visit to block the view of slums

Bussa Krishna first began worshipping Donald Trump four years ago when the US president appeared to him in a dream.Since then, after a run of good fortune, the Indian real estate broker has transformed his modest home into a shrine to the US president, who is due in India on Monday for a two-day visit.“My love for him has transformed into reverence. That has given me immense happiness. Hence instead of praying to other gods, I started praying to him,” Krishna said.Krishna, who lives alone in a…

Facebook follows Singapore government’s order but slams ‘disproportionate’ use of fake news law

Facebook blocked the page of an anti-government website in Singapore on Tuesday after a demand from authorities but slammed the “disproportionate” use of a controversial law against online misinformation.The widely criticised legislation gives ministers powers to order internet platforms and websites to put warnings next to posts they deem false, and also order that pages be blocked in the tightly regulated city state.Political website States Times Review (STR) – which regularly posts articles…